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How to get a job in the gaming industry without programming or design skills

With the rapid growth of the game development sphere, the demand for professionals in this area is increasing every day. If you search for video game jobs on any career portal, you will see tens of thousands of open vacancies.

Because of that, a lot of young people shift their focus away from traditional career opportunities to more modern ones. This is especially true for gamers who dream of making a living off the thing they are so passionate about. Programming and design are popular routes to choose for them, but are they really the only way?

Have you ever thought about what should I study to enter the game industry?

Fortunately, lots of creative and technical professions are useful for this industry. We will talk about the most interesting ways to connect your life with video games.

1. Journalist

Starting off with a method for the patient ones. Journalism is an ancient profession, but it has not been in the gaming sphere for too long. Even today, some game devs smile when they hear the phrase “game journalism”. Nevertheless, this position is pretty demandable and respected. It’s also a great way to turn your hobby into a full-time job.

However, you must understand that you are not in danger of millions here. Journalism is not a profitable occupation as a whole, except for a couple of sub-niches that spoil the craft. You are, of course, required to be a good writer and have an interest in video games. The rest is practice and patience.

The work of a game journalist is rewarded reasonably well, but everything depends on the publication. On job search sites, the average rate is $300 – $400 a month. Usually, this is a remote opportunity with a free schedule, which is perfect for students.

2. Screenwriter

If your fantasy goes beyond writing journalistic articles, then you might consider screenwriting. An engaging plot in games is cool, and talented screenwriters are very appreciated. But, as in any business, there is a lot of risk here because of the great competition. Additionally, video game screenwriters usually work in a team and their names get lost in the final credits most of the time, so this is not for those who seek fame.

There is also another catch. Universities and books teach you to write screenplays, but you need a whole different approach when it comes to games. The screenwriter must adapt the plot to the gameplay, and link the story with the gameplay. As Scott Rogers wrote in “Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design”: “Every part of the plot should be about the gameplay”. Therefore, while studying screenwriting, don’t forget to look through a couple of books about game design.

Usually, screenwriters are hired for individual projects, and the work is paid on a fee basis. But the big studios want to keep their talents to themselves and use them when they need it. For such lucky people, they offer a salary from $570 to $1000.

3. Artist/Musician

Video games are one of the types of modern art. If you go deeper, this is the highest form of it. To create a great game, you need to properly manage music, graphics, cinema art and screenwriting skills. We listed artists and musicians together because ultimately they are creators. These people collect images in their heads, forming something beautiful. Professionals in these fields will be irreplaceable in the gaming industry.

Let’s take the brilliant “Red Dead Redemption 2”, for example. Rockstar Games managed to correctly combine graphics and music to create a unique experience. It is thanks to the artists that the world is so captivating. Musicians and sound designers have perfectly conveyed the atmosphere of this world. These two crafts will always go side by side in the gaming industry, and it is difficult to create a good project without them.

Creative professions are also rewarded very well. Studios are willing to pay professionals an average of $1,200 for good tracks and atmospheric locations.

4. Actor

Sure, this one would be suitable for only a few talents, but you still can’t imagine a video game project without the actors. While earlier characters were drawn from polygons, nowadays developers use motion capture. Actors do not just make the characters move, but give them their emotions and voice.

Take Troy Baker, who has starred in a couple of films during his career, but became famous for his roles in video games. Batman, the Joker, Joel from The Last of Us, Talion from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor are only a small part of characters endowed with his charisma. Why don’t you become the next Troy Baker?

If you successfully pass the audition, then you will be paid and paid well. Young game actors are paid from $100 per shooting day, and experienced ones receive from $1000 for shooting.

5. Mathematician

Let’s move from creative occupations to more pragmatic and technical ones. Mathematicians are those without whom even the simplest arcade game would not be possible. They are responsible for the game balance, on which then the gameplay depends. Game economy, calculation of player indicators, weapon damage, and so on is all performed by math professionals.

In some countries, regular math scientists and teachers are not very appreciated in terms of salary, but the situation is different in the video game business. Full-time mathematicians who work side by side with game designers are paid from $1,500 to $1,800.

6. PR and Marketing

If you can sell honey to a bee, then you will be valued in any industry and gaming isn’t the exception. Creators spend a lot of money on advertising their products and expect to greatly benefit from it. In recent years, the gaming industry has been shifting into commerce, and the expertise of PR specialists, marketers and advertisers is very useful.

PR professionals are responsible for communication with the public and journalists. They know how to attract the attention of the players to the project. Advertisers set up promotion campaigns and brainstorm to the fullest of their abilities. Marketing professionals know the gaming industry and understand what the average player wants today.

A special place has been prepared for those who promote projects in the gaming business. Usually creators cooperate with 3rd party PR companies, but especially large ones keep a staff. A specialist in this field receives an average of $900.

7. Tester

Many myths surround the job of a game tester. Mostly, school students dream about it, thinking that they will only have to sit and play games for days. Basically, they are right, but there are a lot of pitfalls that they are probably unaware of.

Testers really need to play a lot, but often not the best projects. In addition, their task is to search for bugs and errors in the game, not just simply assess the product. They have to pass the same level countless times to understand if everything works correctly. Testers can also be disliked by developers, because they deliberately look for errors in the game, which then need to be fixed.

If you have decided that you can perfectly dig into the little things, then welcome to the game tester career. Dislike by developers will be compensated with a $1,000 on your credit card.

8. Content maker/Blogger

Like we mentioned in the beginning, young people are no longer interested in ordinary work. YouTubers and Twitch streamers might be the quintessence of this phenomenon. As a result, the popularity of this occupation among teenagers is even bigger than that of a game tester. That being said, there are even more pitfalls for video bloggers. 

Creating a YouTube channel is like a business. As a beginner who wants to turn this into a job, you need to invest in it first. A powerful computer and recording equipment is a must and it’s definitely not a cheap set. Plus you need to have the skills of an announcer and a journalist in order to create engaging stories.

The amount of money you’d get from this activity almost entirely depends on your success. A lot of gaming bloggers fail to recapture their spendings on furniture, but some make it big and earn more than 10000$ a month. 

Anyway, these are 8 gaming industry occupations you can pick up to get into this business. Of course, you can always start learning programming or design, but these skills are not obligatory in the world of video games.

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